My daughter’s been asking me to take her to see Boss Baby so when Spring Break came, off to the theater we went. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that Alec Baldwin was the baby’s voice. It was entertaining, but I’ll tell you, as an adoptive mother, it really got me thinking. In fact, for a few days I knew I had something to say about the movie, but I couldn’t formulate the words really.
Adoption is NOT the story. I have no idea where the baby comes from…and I think that’s the point. They actually make that pretty ambiguous because in one scene the mother is pregnant, but then the movie continues and she’s not pregnant, and then…a taxi shows up and there’s a baby. To me, the true story is all about adjusting to having a sibling and “sharing” the love in the family. The movie is relatable because any family with more than one child can understand what it’s like bringing home a new baby. It doesn’t matter if a child has nine months to prepare for his mother to have a baby biologically, or if that baby is adopted. All a child understands is someone new is here and it may cause them to question how that’s all going to work, wondering how it was affect him. The good news is that everyone is happy in the end. The two kids became true brothers. That was good.
Right from the beginning, however, I found myself looking over at my kids to see how they were taking this movie in. What were they thinking? Here I was with my sleeping baby bundled in my sling, my 4-year-old son, and my 9-year-old daughter. All three came from different birth mothers. Right in the beginning of the movie we see all these babies going down a conveyor belt leading them to a small, insignificant test to see if they are fit for a family. It appears that if they “pass” the test, they go down a shoot to birth and will have a family. If they “fail,” they are denied a family and go to work–they are in management. This is our Boss Baby’s beginning. Now, maybe my interpretation is a little more sensitive, but there is a look of happiness among the babies who go to families, and a look of confusion and sadness when our baby in charge gets put to management. It made me wonder what was going through my kids’ heads. Now they have a family so I didn’t fear too much, yet…I felt uneasy. See what I mean? I had feelings and things to say, but didn’t know what to say. It also made me feel this sadness for kids who are in foster care and have been shuffled around. I don’t know. I just felt uncomfortable.
I understand that siblings fight. I mean, my brother and I were professionals at it until something clicked and we became super close overnight. But for some reason, some of the interactions between Tim and his new baby brother felt especially hurtful seeing it on the screen. Again, I found myself looking over at my kids who have struggled loving each other during spring break. It made me cringe, especially, when I heard Tim imply (or maybe say outright…I can’t quite remember) that his parents should return the baby. I’ve heard kids say this before about their own biological siblings because it’s got to be hard to have someone new come in. But I think about when my daughter was really battling feelings of belonging. She felt as if she didn’t fit in our family because no one else looked like her. In my mind and heart, if I were watching during a time when I felt like I didn’t belong in a family…and I heard a character talk about returning me…I’d feel a little insecure.
The good is that the movie is entertaining and my kids laughed. So success. It also ended in a way that was really heartwarming. So even with my concerns, if you make it through the end, hopefully it is all resolved as you see the brothers want to be together because they really love each other. There is this beautiful process of slowly becoming brothers, and I loved that.
I know having a new baby in the family is an issue that so many families face. It’s not adoption exclusive. I’m glad I saw it with my kids, though, so that I could have a discussion with them afterward to see what they thought and how they felt about certain scenes. Questions that started with, “How did you feel when ________?” and “When our baby came home, how did you feel?” “Did you ever feel, __________?” And just for good measure, “Would you ever try to catapult your brother or sister out the window like Tim tried to do?!”
From what they say, the movie was a success and I don’t have to lock the windows shut! Succes!